I never cease to be amazed by the ability of politicians to transform and contradict themselves in virtually no time. It was only five months ago we read the following on candidate Dan Malloy’s campaign website:
“I was also an early supporter of legislation that would have established a health insurance option for Connecticut residents called SustiNet. In the end, the final legislation did not go as far as I had hoped. It did not create the SustiNet Health Insurance option, but did set the wheels in motion toward developing a plan that could become law. This was a step in the right direction that was inexplicably vetoed by the Governor. Thankfully, the State Legislature showed great leadership in overriding that veto and moving us one important step closer to achieving quality, affordable healthcare for every Connecticut resident . . . Nancy Wyman has played an active leadership role on this issue, serving as co-chair of the SustiNet Health Partnership. Under Nancy’s leadership, 160 volunteer experts are working hard as we speak to develop a strategy for implementing the SustiNet plan.”
Yes, while “Dan” Malloy was a candidate, he was upset that Sustinet was “inexplicably” vetoed by former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. He played up the fact that his running mate, Nancy Wyman, was co-chair of the Sustinet Health Partnership Board of Directors, which was responsible for crafting the plan to present to the General Assembly for the program’s implementation.
“I am completely convinced that, with Nancy Wyman as my partner in this effort, we can expand access and bring down costs down . . . That’s a promise we have a moral responsibility to keep,” he said on the campaign trail.
Healthcare was one of the issues upon which candidate Malloy clashed most vehemently with his Republican opponent, Tom Foley, who called SustiNet “a plan without a purpose.”
As Governor-elect, Malloy headlined an Interfaith Rally in support of SustiNet at the Emanuel Lutheran Church. “I’m not sure we’re at the top of the mountain, where we see the promise land but we know the promise land exists or at least a substantial portion of that which is necessary to provide the promise land is just around the corner,” he said to an enthusiastic crowd and assembled faith leaders.
He obviously left out the part about wandering in the desert for 40 years first.
But lo! After his inauguration in January, Candidate Dan begat Governor Dannel Malloy
Almost as soon as Malloy assumed the name his mother gave him the backtracking on Sustinet began, which is kind of ironic since he credited his mother’s work and advocacy as a school nurse for his commitment to universal health care. His appointment of industry insider Thomas Leonardi as Insurance Commissioner instead of the widely expected choice of Steve Fontana was the first clue that Dannel Malloy was more inclined to let the poachers be the gamekeepers than Dan Malloy had been.
Throughout his budget tour, Dannel signaled that he was cooling on his support for Sustinet, arguing with supporters of the program and laying the ground for what eventually came this week when he kicked the bill to the curb in the wake of the long awaited Office of Fiscal Analysis note, one that the Universal Healthcare Foundation disputes as deeply flawed. “I think a lot of people are talking about the expense and I’m concerned about the expense but I’m also concerned about the structure of this proposal,“ Malloy said. “Where we would take upward of $7 billion of state budget and take it away from the legislature, take it away from the governor, take it away from elected officials and put it in a quasi-government board that has no elected membership. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
As public policy grad student Beau Anderson, known in the CT political blogosphere as as Spazeboy, observed, “Dannel disagrees with Dan.”
I can’t help wondering how Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman feels about those huge tire tracks on her back.
Sarah Darer Littman is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers and an award-winning novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.